Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

March 17, 2014

Celebrate Women’s History Month with more than words

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the heritage, impact and influence of women all across the Nation.

The history of Maryland is filled with stories of strong and courageous female leaders, from Harriet Tubman to Clara Barton.

But women are also making history here today, women like Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress, who also co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a Women’s History Week in 1981.

What’s more, this past September, Maryland was named “The Best State for Women” by the Center for American Progress, which looked at economics, leadership, and health in all 50 states.

We ranked first in both economics and leadership, boasting the country’s highest percentage of women-owned businesses, the lowest wage gap for women of any state in the nation, and the fourth-highest percentage of female elected officials in both the U.S. Congress and the state legislature.

But we all know there is more work to be done. 11 percent of the women in Maryland live in poverty. And of our citizens earning just the minimum wage, more than half are women.

Yet, in 15 percent of our households, women are the sole or primary earners. And while we do better than most other states in giving families access to Pre-K with 34.9 percent of four and five-year-olds enrolled in public Pre-K, our work will not be finished until access is universal.

We can do better. We must do better.

This is why my two biggest priorities of the year are raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and continuing to expand Pre-K.

Join me in the fight for more equality and a stronger Maryland. Together we can ensure that Maryland remains “The Best State for Women” for generations to come. Thank you,

Gov. Martin O’Malley

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